US STOCKS-Futures flat with claims data on tap; Priceline gains

Thu May 8, 2014 7:43am EDT

* Priceline climbs after results, Tesla tumbles

* Futures up: Dow 25 pts, S&P 1 pt, Nasdaq 2.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, ahead of data on the labor market and as earnings season began to wind down.

* Weekly initial jobless claims data is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Analysts expect claims to have fallen to 325,000 versus 344,000 in the prior week.

* Priceline Group Inc shares advanced 2.9 percent to $1,164 before the opening bell after the online travel agency reported a 36 percent rise in quarterly profit and gave its second-quarter forecast.

* Tesla Motors Inc dropped 8.6 percent to $184 in premarket trading after it offered an outlook for the second quarter on Wednesday that disappointed some investors.

* Of the 422 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported earnings through Wednesday morning, 68.2 percent beat expectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994, and exceeding the 66 percent beat rate for the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* Profits are expected to rise 5 percent this quarter, down from 6.5 percent estimated at the start of the year, but above the low of 0.6 percent in mid-April, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 1 point and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures added 25 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures gained 2.5 points.

* Twitter Inc gained 1.8 percent to $31.20 and Yelp Inc rose 2.4 percent to $54 in premarket trade after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on both of the social media companies. Social media companies, many of which have been momentum-driven names, have been under pressure recently. The Global X Social Media Index ETF has fallen more than 14 percent since April 22.

* Costco Wholesale Corp said April same-store sales rose 5 percent, helped by higher gasoline prices, sending shares up 1.1 percent to $113.19 in light premarket trading.

* European stock markets rose after reassuring updates from top companies such as the German supermarket chain Metro while Asian shares got a lift from dovish comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Those markets also benefited from better-than-expected Chinese trade figures. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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